Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1
came to fruition at a time when superhero movies had started to take themselves too seriously.
With its yacht rock soundtrack and anti-hero cast, the 2014 movie provided some serious comic relief as it followed the exploits of the half-human, half-alien Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt).
In one interview, Pratt accurately described the character as a mix of Han Solo and Marty McFly.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
, which opens areawide on Friday, continues to mine the very rich source material of Marvel characters.
Set shortly after the events of the first film, the sequel commences with a flashback featuring Peter’s long-lost dad Ego (Kurt Russell), who shares his love for cheesy '70s music. He wins Peter’s mother over by taking her to the Dairy Queen and then seducing her with the smooth grooves of Looking Glass’s “Brandy” while cruising in his Ford Cobra convertible.
Flash-forward a few years, and we catch up with the Guardians as they’ve embarked on a freelance gig for the Sovereign Race. They’re protecting the Sovereign's valuable batteries from a giant monster. In exchange for their services, the Sovereign will return Gamora's (Zoe Saldana) estranged sister Nebula, who was caught stealing. The monster proves to be a formidable opponent, but the Guardians eventually slay the beast and retain Nebula.
After Rocket (Bradley Cooper) swipes a few batteries on his way out the door, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians' ship. The Guardians appear doomed until a mysterious man saves their asses by destroying the enemy drones with a single blow. The stranger turns out to be Ego. He whisks them away to the planet he's made into his home and tries to bond with Peter, encouraging him to develop his special alien powers.
Through it all, something seems amiss. Peter doesn’t entirely trust his father, who abandoned him and his mother. His instincts prove to be correct.
The film's various subplots all revolve around similar family issues. Zamora finds it difficult to reconcile with her sister, and Yondu (Michael Rooker), Quill's father-figure, struggles to squash a mutiny waged by his “brothers” in the Ravagers. Even the generally nonplussed Drax (Dave Bautista) has suppressed feelings about his family.
The film makes the point that family can be fabricated. The motley crew here might squabble with one another on a regular basis, but their solidarity enables them to overcome adversity. It's heavy-handed stuff, but the soundtrack dubbed "Awesome Mixtape #2" regularly helps to lighten the mood. It features classic tracks such as Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain," George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me" and Cat Stevens' "Father and Son."
And Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) regularly steals the show with his outlandish antics.
Be sure to sit through the film's end credits to catch a few glimpses of what’s to come in Vol. 3